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If there is military action against Syria, should the U.S. be involved?
February 9th, 2012
03:47 PM ET

If there is military action against Syria, should the U.S. be involved?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As Syria's brutal crackdown intensifies it seems increasingly likely that there could be some sort of military action.

The United Nations is calling for the international community to protect the Syrian population.

One opposition group reports that government forces killed more than 130 civilians in Syria today - most of them in the city of Homs.

There are reports of bomb explosions every few minutes; of wounded people bleeding to death in the streets because they can't get help; and of snipers picking off civilians who are running for cover.

Doctors inside Syria say government forces are targeting hospitals, medical staff and patients.

Meanwhile the Pentagon and U.S. Central Command have started reviewing military options.

One senior official calls it a "scoping exercise" to see what's possible - given all our other military commitments in the region.

It's not unusual for the Pentagon to do such a planning exercise - so they have options ready if the president wants them.

They're likely considering everything from humanitarian relief to support for opposition groups. Senior officials tell CNN that outright military strikes are unlikely.

Some have suggested setting up a "humanitarian corridor" or safe haven for civilians. That could require the use of troops.

Others, including senator John McCain, have said the U.S. should consider all options "including arming the opposition."

The State Department says while they never take anything off the table, they don't think sending more arms into Syria is the answer.

It's believed that any military action in Syria would be riskier and more complicated than the Libyan mission. And a lot of people don't think the U.S. should have gotten involved in that.

Here’s my question to you: If there is military action against Syria, should the U.S. be involved?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: Syria • United States Military
July 7th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Should the U.S. leave troops in Iraq past the deadline for leaving the country?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In 2008, President Obama promised over and over again to get all U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011. After winning the presidency, he vowed to keep that promise.

Now as that deadline for military withdrawal from Iraq approaches, he's apparently prepared to break that promise. Gee, what a surprise.

The President announced this week that he's offering to leave 10,000 U.S. troops in Iraq indefinitely, beyond the scheduled December withdrawal date. The White House says it's concerned that the planned pullout of nearly all U.S. troops at the end of the year could spark violence and trigger militant attacks there. Oh, and don't forget the oil.

Any extension of U.S. military presence depends on a formal request from Iraqi government, and so far no request has been made. But the Pentagon wants to give Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his government time to decide so if they need the help, there is time to plan. The Iraqi government is reportedly divided on whether the U.S. should leave additional troops behind and al-Maliki is facing pressure from hard line members of his own party to let the troops leave on schedule.

There are about 46,000 U.S. troops in Iraq right now. Only about 200 were supposed to remain in the country in "advisory" roles beyond December to train security forces there. The White House said yesterday that's still the Pentagon's plan and that time for the Iraqi government to ask for the troops to stay is running out. What'll you bet they ask.

Meanwhile there are discussions about cutting Social Security and Medicare to deal with a ballooning national debt and deficit caused at least in part by the war in Iraq which so far has cost an estimated $1 trillion. Makes a lot of sense.

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. leave troops in Iraq past the deadline for leaving the country?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Iraq • Troop Withdrawals • U.S. Army • United States Military
May 5th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Does getting Osama bin Laden justify enhanced interrogation techniques?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Leon Panetta, head of the CIA, said earlier this week that intelligence collected from detainees who were waterboarded provided clues that helped the U.S. track down Osama bin Laden.

Waterboarding, which is the simulated drowning of prisoners to get them to spill secrets, is no longer legal, thanks to President Obama. It was one of Obama's first acts as president.

The Bush Administration before him had been harshly criticized for what some said was legalizing torture. Panetta in the past has said that enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding is torture and is morally wrong. However, he also said the debate about the use of these techniques will continue.

Some former members of the Bush Administration and a handful of other Republicans were quick to defend the practice in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Justice Department official John Yoo and Congressman Peter King from New York have all said in interviews this week that information obtained through enhanced interrogation techniques used on prisoners, like waterboarding, was key to the successful raid on Osama bin Laden's Pakistani hideout.

However, none of these men is really in the position to know this for sure. And there's been no official statement or any proof that any information gained from prisoners by using these interrogation techniques ultimately led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Here’s my question to you: Does getting Osama bin Laden justify the use of enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

March 22nd, 2011
03:59 PM ET

Should Pres. Obama have consulted with Congress before U.S. military to Libya?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Quite a few members of Congress are not happy with President Obama over his decision to allow U.S. air attacks in Libya. They feel they weren't given any say in the whole matter…which they weren't. And the criticism of the president is coming in from everywhere.

Republican Congressman Ron Paul of Texas says the no-fly zone is unconstitutional. Liberal Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich from Ohio has brought up the idea of impeachment hearings for President Obama's actions. No surprise there... but it's not just the far right and the far left up in arms. Moderates like Democratic Senator and former Navy Secretary Jim Webb and Republican Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican member of the Foreign Relations Committee. They aren't happy with the president either.

Yesterday the President sent an official letter to Congress asserting his authority to make the decision on Libya based on the Constitution and War Powers Resolution. The letter said he was acting in the "national security and foreign policy interests of the United States."

The president did hold a briefing for congressional party and committee leaders in the White House Situation Room on Friday before any attacks were launched. But many lawmakers say that wasn't enough.

Here’s my question to you: Should President Obama have consulted with Congress before sending the U.S. military against Libya?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

March 22nd, 2011
03:58 PM ET

Does latest Army photo scandal change your view of U.S. military?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The armed forces of the United States are arguably the greatest fighting force ever assembled. More importantly, it traditionally has been used only for the noblest of causes. The most recent example is Libya, where President Obama ordered our military to assist in protecting innocent civilians from being slaughtered by the ruthless dictator Moammar Ghadafi.

But as with any organization, sometimes it only takes the actions of a few to call the reputation of the whole into question.

Over the weekend, the German newspaper, Der Spiegel, published photographs of what appear to be two U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan standing over the bodies of dead Afghan civilians, in what's been described as trophy-like poses.

One of those soldiers, Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock, is being court marshaled for the murder of three Afghan civilians. He will plead guilty tomorrow. In all, 12 soldiers have been charged for offenses related to the murder of Afghan civilians last year.

The Army released a statement yesterday apologizing for the pictures and for the actions of 12 soldiers, saying:

"The photos appear in stark contrast to the discipline, professionalism and respect that have characterized our soldiers' performance during nearly ten years of sustained operations."

The incident is reminiscent of Abu Ghraib during the war in Iraq where U.S. soldiers took pictures of each other torturing Iraqi prisoners.

Whether the lengths and numbers of deployments of our military, which has been stretched to the breaking point, contribute to these kinds of things is a debate for another day.

Here’s my question to you: Does the latest Army photo scandal change your view of the U.S. military?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: U.S. Army • United States Military
December 7th, 2010
04:06 PM ET

Lowest pay raise for military in nearly 50 years?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As our government plans to extend tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, they're also proposing the lowest pay raise for the military in almost 50 years.

You heard right. As our servicemen and women return to the battlefield for their third or fourth tours of duty, the people who represent us think it's a good time to cut corners there. Extend tax breaks for millionaires and the middle finger for the armed forces.

The Obama administration has proposed a 1.4 percent pay raise for the military in 2011 – the lowest since 1962, when they got no raise.

The administration claims a 1.4 percent raise would match the average for the private sector, and they say it's on top of other increases in housing and food subsidies.

But many in the military aren't buying it. And it's easy to see where they're coming from when rich Americans will be saving billions in tax breaks.

One Marine Corps sergeant who just got back from his fourth deployment in Afghanistan calls it "absolute garbage."

He asks USA Today how the government can bail out the auto industry and other major corporations, yet not give a larger pay raise to those putting their lives on the line for the U.S.

Some senators want to give bonuses to troops doing the most fighting. And an organization representing 32 military groups is pushing for a 1.9 percent pay raise.

It's estimated that an increase from 1.4 to 1.9 percent would cost taxpayers $350 million next year – compare that to the tax break deal which some say will cost $900 billion.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the economy, do members of the military deserve the lowest pay raise in nearly 50 years?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • Economy • Iraq • United States Military • US Military • War in Iraq